Discovering a hidden haven in the Latrobe Valley, Victoria, Australia

Week Two of my Rose Diary…

Over the last couple of weeks many of the roses have started to sprout new growth for an autumn flush. I’ve really only just learnt that I should do a summer pruning (which is not quite as hard as a winter one) so they can be at their best, but I’ve left it too late this time around. Next year. Already I have a lot of jobs on the list for next year!

New rose growth has attracted a stack of aphids. Us rose gardeners can have a reputation for being pretty quick to reach for the spray, but I don’t.

Aphids having a lovely time muching my roses

Aphids having a lovely time munching on my roses.

I am fortunate that if I wait a beneficial insect in the form of a little parasitic wasp (Aphidius rosae) will turn up and deal with the aphids. These wasps are an introduced biological control.

An adult Aphidius Rosae circled. Notice the pale aphid 'mummies' above it.

It can seem like an age for the wasps to turn up while the aphid population explodes, but they are usually here within a week of an aphid outbreak and the aphids are then gone within a week or two.

The wasps manner of dealing with the aphids is quite gruesome. They lay their eggs inside the aphid and the aphid then provides food for the wasp larva. You can read more about it here.

Most years I can also rely on ladybugs coming to the rescue too, but this year we’ve barely seen them and we’re all still a bit sad about that.

Anyway, time to look at what the next lot of roses are doing today. These ones are scattered around the side and back of the shed.

As an aside – I keep mucking up the layout of the tables which seem to limit where I can edit, so this diary entry will end abruptly after the last table!

Rose/breeder Kathryn Morley (Austin)
Type / Colour Many petalled English rose / Soft shell pink
Position North/West facing – beside robinia (part sun)
Condition Quite tall (over 1 metre), getting a bit leggy. Doing quite ok, but I reckon it will thrive in a better position.
Perfume? Yes, soft
In flower? No, a couple of buds

Camp David, as high as the shed.

Rose/breeder Camp David (?)
Type / Colour Hybrid tea / deep red
Position West facing behind the shed
Condition Thriving, can get close to two meters if let go, can produce more long stemmed blooms than it can support if not kept in check.
Perfume? Yes, quite strong
In flower? Yes
Rose/breeder Lorraine Lee

(Alistair Clarke – Australian bred rose)

Type / Colour Climber, tea shaped buds / pink with an apricot tinge
Position West facing behind the shed
Condition Monster climbing rose! Flowers sporadically but over many months. Beautiful buds, but they don’t last in the vase.
Perfume? faint
In flower? No

Abraham Darby, quite an apricot shade at this time of year.

Rose/breeder Abraham Darby (Austin)
Type / Colour Many petalled English rose/ varies from pink early in season to  more apricot later.
Position West facing behind the shed
Condition A big thriving plant over a metre high and wide. Flowers repeatedly and generously
Perfume? Yes, just divine!
In flower? Yes

William Shakespeare March 2010

Rose/breeder William Shakespeare (Austin)
Type / Colour English Rose / crimson
Position North/West facing – beside smaller Japanese maple (part sun)
Condition Very good. Quite tall (over 1 metre). Quite a bit of new growth, getting a tad leggy.
Perfume? Yes
In flower? Yes, buds present
Rose/breeder Camille Pissaro  (Delbard)
Type / Colour Cream and pink bicolour
Position North/West facing – beside false acacia (part sun)
Condition Poor. Not in a great position, but still the least successful when compared to those around it.
Perfume? No
In flower? No, a couple of buds

Fiona's Wish hiding her yellow centre

Rose/breeder Fiona’s Wish (?)
Type / Colour Hybrid tea / strong yellow dark pink edging
Position North/West facing – beside robinia (part sun)
Condition Ok, some new growth, but not really thriving
Perfume? Yes
In flower? Yes
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Comments on: "Rose Diary. A Parasitic Wasp That is a Friend to the Roses." (15)

  1. Gosh I knew that wasps laid their eggs in caterpillars… but never knew that they used aphids as receptors. Fascinating! Great shots of the little critters and your lists are very interesting and helpful too. Maybe you could find some lacewings to help with your aphid problem… also a good hose spray will help keep them down… but you most likely know all this. ;>)

    • Hi Carol, I’ve been meaning to learn more about lacewings. We do get them occasionally, but it seems to be the little wasps that are most active in the garden. I do give the roses a squirt with the hose if I get impatient for the wasps to come, but I worry that I’ve chossen the wrong moment and might be squirting the wasps away too!

  2. Darn those David Austin roses…I can’t help but always be drawn to them. Your Abraham Darby is stunning, and such a beautiful color.

    Parasitic wasps may be gruesome in their habits, but I’m not a fan of aphids. They can get particularly bad here, in our Bay Trees of all things, and where the aphids are, the ants, and sooty molds aren’t far behind. At least you have some helpers to keep those aphids under control!

    • Hi CV, I’ve never tried to grow a Bay Tree, but it’s good to be forewarned that one might suffer at the jaws of these little horrors! It does sound like I’m very lucky to have some predators about, the aphids are usually gone before too much in the way of a secondary problem can emerge.

      Abraham Darby is one of my faves and I’m thinking of thinning out the hybrid tea population a bit in favour of more Austins or even experimenting with some old roses 🙂

  3. Abraham Darby is one of my favorites! Your garden must be full of beauty, color and scent right now, Heidi. Enjoy every moment. 🙂

    I love what you’ve done with waiting for the predator insect populations to take control of the situation. Sorry to hear about your ladybugs disappearing. I wonder what happened…

    • Hi Meredith, yes there are lots of lovely smelly (in the nicest sense of the word 🙂 ) roses about!

      I really would like to get to the bottom of what happened to the ladybugs. We even had a little nursery for them in ‘Mother Maple’ where they would lay their eggs each year. More research!

  4. Thanks for sharing those wonderful photos, and reminding us to be patients when bugs appear as often the remedy is not far behind. We have lots of those iridescent blue ladybugs – do you get them there, or is it a tropical thing?

    • Hello Gillian 🙂 I’m not familiar with iridescent blue ladybugs, so I guess they must be tropical (or I just haven’t stumbled upon them yet which is always possible!) They sound beautiful – I’ll have to look them up!

  5. Lovely roses! Love William Shakespeare. Our local garden guru recommends using “natural” aphid control – squishing them with fingers. I bet everyone would prefer your wasps. What great helpers!

  6. Hello Tatyana 🙂 I do squish them occassionally too, but it feels awful doesn’t it?! I tell myself it is for the greater good of the garden while willing the wasps to arrive quickly!

  7. Very nice of the wasps to help you out with those pesky aphids. We get them here too. You might need to send some wasps to me because I haven’t seen them before. I’ve heard about them. Great shot of it.

  8. Ooooo, Abraham Darby, I think you need to come see me sometime!

  9. I am in awe of your roses! I feel like ‘grown ups’ grow something as beautiful as roses – and I’m just a kid, knocking around the extra-hardy perennials! But I will absolutely enjoy the fruits of your labor!! I could browse for days! :o)

  10. Hi Shyrlene! I grow roses because they are tough as old boots. Believe me, if they weren’t they wouldn’t survive in my garden! I think it is a lot to do with the conditions. I’m just lucky to live in a spot that the roses like to live too!

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